The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including gluten-free and vegan dishes.


December 20, 2011

The Wonders of India - Agra

There is nothing greater than undying love and devotion. One of India's most treasured monuments is Taj Mahal which was built by emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved empress Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz's final request for Shah Jahan was that he never remarry and prove his endless love for her by building a beautiful mausoleum. Shah Jahan also had plans of building a mausoleum for himself behind the Taj Mahal so that he may look upon his Mumtaz whenever he pleased. However, he passed away before it was completed and only the foundation remained. He was later buried next to his empress inside Taj Mahal. The story was so beautiful that I couldn't help but cry while our guide was telling it
The best time to visit the Taj Mahal is during the winter months and go early. One time, we made the mistake of going in the summer and turned out to be the hottest day of the year. Let's just say I lost a weight on that trip and it wasn't intentional. This time, we got to the monument early in the morning (around 7ish) and enjoyed the view without the crowds and hassle. If you are planning to hire a guide, make sure they know more than what's written in the guide books. We walked around the grounds a while just taking in the ambiance and also explored the other structures around the Taj; such as the mosque on the left and Mihman Khana on the right. The Mihman Khana was used as a guesthouse during the death anniversaries of Mumtaz Mahal and then as a banquet hall by Indian princes and high ranking British officials during the 18th and 19th centuries.
It was difficult to leave the Taj Mahal but we had one more monument to see in Agra called Fatehpur Sikri. It was the former imperial capital of Mughal emperor Akbar. Just like the Taj Mahal, the city was constructed with influences of Indian, Persian and Islam traditions. The album below is from our tour through Fatehpur Sikri.

If we had more time, we would have stopped by Agra Fort too but we had to get packing and drive to Delhi that day. However, it was a great day filled with lots of picturesque memories of India's national treasures. 

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